The Course Information & Options For Taking 2018 China Trip Courses: ARTS-4337 | ARTS-4388 | CHIN-1311 | CHIN-1312

Posted by: Ping

Photo credit: Steve Goan

Dear students:

Happy New Year! and welcome back!

About joining the China trip, I would like to explain more below as the deadline of Study Abroad application is approaching.

By the time we travel Greater China, we will explore Chinese cities and areas such as Beijing, Hebei, Hengyang, Shanghai, Wuzhen, Huangshan, and Taiwanese capital Taipei.

Beijing, China’s capital city, is a vibrant mix of history and modernity. Having served as the capital of the country for more than 800 years, it is home to some of the finest remnants of China’s imperial past. We visit Central Academy of Fine Arts because we can not only have an exchange activity with China’s most prestigious art school, but save about $120 USD per person in Beijing.

Hengyang, the home of UTRGV’s partner school Hengyang Normal University, offers us free facility rental including the computer lab and lighting studio, so that we could teach classes over there!

Shanghai, the pretty French Concession, with its walled villas and cafes, retains a Parisian charm, while the spectacular riverside Bund, with its old banks and trading posts, offers views across the water to the high rises of Pudong in the East. The latter is symbolic of Shanghai’s rapid development, home to some of the world’s tallest buildings and biggest corporations. Despite being China’s most outwardly modern city, there is history at every turn, from the ancient Jade Temple to the vast People’s Square. More than that, we are able to give our students to learn Chinese in our brand new partner school Shanghai University, and take an internship opportunity in a couple of world leading advertising agencies Shanghai branches.

For your China Study Abroad application, I would like to suggest you to take one of the art courses (either ARTS-4337 Digital Photography or ARTS-4388 Visual travel Journal), and one of the language courses (either CHIN-1311 or CHIN-1312 classes):

    1. ARTS-4337 Digital Photography: 3 credit hours | Capacity: 15
      _taught by UTRGV’s School of Arts professor Ping Xu | Download syllabus here
      May 14 – June 23, 2018
      ARTS 4337 class is a digital photography course. Students will learn how to visually communicate their ideas in a creative manner. Students will also learned how to set up lighting and shoot models in a professional lighting studio, and to use Adobe image retouching software to edit photos. The effective integration of traditional and digital photographic elements is of particular emphasis in this course. The structure of the class includes landscape and portrait photography, lectures, demonstrations in lighting studio, and project development.By the end of the course the students will:1. get familiar with raw format images for digital photography.
      2. get familiar with digital imagery for digital print reproduction technology.
      3. get the ability to explore visual languages through a variety of image editing software.
      4. gain the skills of critical thinking and problem solving through digital photography.For joining ARTS-4337 class, a semi-professional camera and a tripod are required:
      Student work from our Study Abroad 2017 China trip:
      Student work from our Study Abroad 2016 China trip:
    2. CHIN-1101 Elementary Chinese I (SHU Course): 3 credit hours | Capacity: 20
      May 24 – June 23, 2018
      _taught by Shanghai University professor (Equivalence: UTRGV’s CHIN-1311 Beginning Chinese I)
      > Course credit approval form by advisor
      > Transfer evaluation form by chair & dean. Every student needs the form to be signed by Dr. Block if the student comes from College of Fine Arts.
      This course is designed to enhance 0-level students’ abilities to speak and write Chinese. It starts from the pinyin, then goes forward step by step, involving the most frequently used words and sentence patterns in Chinese vocabulary and grammar, and the most fundamental communication activities in daily life. Includes an introduction to Chinese culture. The course will focus on listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students who begin to learn Chinese are applicable to this course. The course will give the students understanding of Chinese through various teaching methods, i.e. lectures on vocabulary and texts, presentation on given topics, homework and assignments, dictation, etc.
      Timely attendance and class participation are essential to the course. Homework and dictation assignments will be assigned for each lesson. One quiz and one test, both will be comprehensive. By the end of the semester students will:• Be able to demonstrate basic speaking abilities.
      • Be able to read and write simple passages.
      • Be able to know more about modern life in China
    3. CHIN-1102 Elementary Chinese II (SHU Course): 3 credit hours | Capacity: 20
      May 24 – June 23, 2018
      _taught by Shanghai University professor (Equivalence: UTRGV’s CHIN-1312 Beginning Chinese II)
      The Chinese course develops students’ basic communication competence in Mandarin Chinese with a focus on listening and speaking, and in simplified Chinese with reading and writing, and their understanding of Chinese culture. The language course will be conducted in Chinese and English.Students will mainly focus on improving their Chinese pronunciation and tones, learning new grammar patterns and practicing the newly learned grammar and vocabulary. Organized in-class activities include daily dictation, quizzes, memorizing text and completing oral exercises such as retelling stories, making up dialogues, giving presentations, and performing skits. The class helps students strengthen their skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The topics in the textbook cover the most commonly used. The class is designed for 4 weeks. Students are expected to learn at least 20 new Chinese words every class day. Students should be able to function in Chinese in their daily life with good confidence and to hold conversations with local Chinese people on most common topics, such as talking about Chinese culture, food, and customs. In addition, with some high level vocabularies, students can also talk about some social issues.To submit your application online, please visit:

Study Abroad China – Course Options

Recommendation Letter
You’ll need to prepare one letter for applying the UTRGV Int’l Education Fee scholarship, and another letter for applying the Gilman Scholarship. The scholarship recommendation should be prepared from someone that knows you and it cannot be the faculty leader of the trip. If you have further questions, please let us know. For Gilman application, please visit the following website, and contact either Mr. Earhart at or ONLY if you have any questions. The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a grant program that enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic competitiveness.

Study Abroad Online Application & IEF Scholarship
IPP will award IEF scholarship in February (after the application deadline). Only students with a complete study abroad application will be considered for the $2,000 IEF scholarship.

Gilman Scholarship Application

  • When you submit your study abroad application online through horizons you are required to select YES or NO for the IEF Scholarship. It is on the same page as the budget worksheet you must fill in. 
  • When they request approvals or feedback from individuals in Part 2 of the application they must request a scholarship recommendation from someone is not the faculty-leader(s) on the trip. 

Scholarships for the China trip
Eligible for applying and wining $8,000 USD Gilman Scholarship:
Take one of the art courses and one of the language courses
• Either ARTS-4337 or ARTS-4388
• Either CHIN-1311 or CHIN-1312 (Beginning Chinese I & Beginning Chinese II)

Eligible for applying and wining Gilman Scholarship ($2,000 USD – $5,000 USD), and/or UTRGV International Education Fee Scholarship (IEF $2,000 USD)
Take at least two of China trip courses from the followings:
• ARTS-4337 Digital Photography
• ARTS-4388 Visual Travel Journal
• ARTS-4391 Advertising Internship
• CHIN-1311 or CHIN-1312 (Beginning Chinese I & Beginning Chinese II)

We would like to receive your application for ARTS-4337 and CHIN-1101 or CHIN-1102 sooner. If your budget allows, I would highly suggest you to take the 3rd course, ARETS-4338 Visual Travel Journal. IPP is always consider the UTRGV’s International Education fee scholarship to students who take more classes. Compared to those students who only take two courses, you will be more possible to win the UTRGV scholarship and Gilman if you take three courses. It only cost you $504 more, but you will get your lodging in Shanghai University’s int’l student dorm by taking their class, and will be eligible for winning the scholarships.

Eligible for joining the Advertising Internship (Graphic Design student only) and Taiwan English Camp (US citizen only):
1. Take at least one art course (ARTS-4337 or ARTS-4388) unless you have already took the course during previous China trips
2. Take at least one Chinese course from the followings:
> CHIN-1311 Beginning Chinese I
> CHIN-1312 Beginning Chinese II
> ARTS-4388 Special Topics II / Chinese Calligraphy

Airfare Booking
After you submit your application online, and you receive a reminder email from IPP for your ticket purchase, you can book your flight ticket through CTP or
For booking the ticket, you may book the flights as follows:
(1) May 14, 2018, AA-263 Dallas to Beijing
(2) May 23, 2018, Shanghai – Taipei
(3) July 22, 2018, Taipei – McAllen

If your China trip only focus on the mainland China, and you don’t plan to join the Taiwan trip, your itinerary could be:

(1) May 14, 2018, AA-263 Dallas to Beijing
(2) May 23, 2018, Shanghai – McAllen

For most detailed information about the China trip, please visit:

If you have further question, you can reach me out by emailing, or call me (956-777-1126) to ask questions or make an appointment.

Ping Xu_MFA
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
School of Art
1.209 VABL
2412 Business 281 (S. Closner)
Edinburg, Texas 78539
(956) 665-7500 |

Brownsville  Edinburg  Harlingen


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